It’s not often that the muscles of the body are referred to in terms of pain except when the topic of exercise comes up.
Fibromyalgia, however, causes pain in the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. It is accompanied by extensive fatigue, un-refreshing sleep, and a complete loss of energy.
The muscles feel like they have been dragged or worked too hard, with twitches and a feeling of burning. The pain is akin to that one gets with influenza and the best way to empathize with someone with fibromyalgia syndrome, or FMS, is to remember when you were last ill.
Symptoms of Fybromyalgia
The symptoms of FMS also include irritable bowel syndrome, frequent headaches, jaw-related face pain, chest pain, stiffness of joints, memory loss to a certain extent; heightened sensitivity to odors, strident noises, bright lights and touchsimilar to migraine sufferers; infection and allergies; stress, anxiety and depression.
However, FMS isn’t progressive or fatal. There are treatments that help FMS sufferers.
Causes of Fybromyalgia
The medical community is not yet sure about what causes FMS. The theory that is current is that people who have FMS have a lower pain threshold because their brains are more sensitive to signals of pain.
Consistent or repetitive stimulation could cause changes in the brain such that the level of certain chemicals (neurotransmitters) increases abnormally.
Then, the neurons or pain receptors start to overreact to pain signals. So a person with FMS would react with pain to pressure on certain spots on the body. However, doctors don’t know why this happens.
They theorize that it could be due to abnormalities in the nervous system; injury or infection could cause FMS; changes in the metabolism of muscles because of decreased blood flow could also be a cause. In addition, hormonal changes and psychological stress could be causing FMS.
Risk Factors for FMS
The risk factors for FMS include age and sex as women more than men are likely to be affected by FMS and anyone of any age can develop this disease.
Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can lead to FMS. This condition is hereditary to a certain extent since the chances of developing FMS are higher if a relative has it. FMS is also a possibility for people who already suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
Seek medical advice if you have the symptoms described such as aching muscle pain and chronic fatigue.
You could be suffering from some other condition but its best to have the doctor rule it out. There is no particular clinical lab test for FMS. You may be asked to take blood tests and x-rays, which will help rule out RA, MS, and lupus but are not likely to help diagnose FMS.
The only guidelines that have been laid down is that the patient should have suffered from overall aching pain for at least three months and suffer pain when pressed in eleven tender spots on the body. But doctors question the validity and reliability of this method.
Generally the treatment for FMS includes medication and self care. The doctor may prescribe antidepressants, analgesics, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, and sleeping pills for the short term. In addition, you must reduce stress in your life; exercise regularly and sleep well; pace yourself and don’t overdo things when you feel well; have a healthy lifestyle eat well, reduce your intake of coffee and alcohol; have a hobby.
Educate yourself about FMS and pass this information on to your friends and family so they understand your situation. Get in touch with support groups so that you are with people who understand your condition and you don’t feel alone in what you are going through.